‘They deserve what they get.’
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‘Why do we care about foreign casualties when we have our own problems at home.’
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‘They are just animals anyway’
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We live in a culture where hatred and degradation are delivered freely and frequently with no accountability. The punishment for these words are neglectful silence, an expletive filled argument, or more hatred and degradation. Under-read and hateful people will regard this as freedom; sensible people will regard this as irresponsible. My name is Ghafoor. I live in Pakistan’s Northwest, not far from the Waziristan Mountains where a war is being fought between the TTP and a kind of ethereal villain that kills my friends, my schoolteacher and soon, my family. They are what we now know as drones. Controlled by a man in a room with a joystick they drop death, hate and vitriol. A stark reflection of those at home with keyboards, a lack of sympathy, and an Internet connection.

I am writing this, as a response that will be lost amongst thousands of arbitrary opinions. But if this freedom is for everybody, then I must oblige myself to share my experiences.

It begins with a lack of sleep. At first it is the sound that keeps you awake, but after you get used to the sound, it is something else. The misconception is that attacks are like movies, silence is penetrated by a low hiss in the distance, rumbling vessels fly over, a dramatic rendition of ‘Flight of the Valkyries’ plays as explosions rupture our buildings and flesh. The reality is much less sinister, much less extravagant, and much quieter. The low buzz is consistent; it lies dull in your eardrums almost as if it was always there. I don’t imagine this is much different from living in a twenty-four hour city with the roar of engines persisting through the night. The buzz represents our reality now, like a low-hanging mist that blankets our entire region, some even say they can see it. I can’t, but I can see the effects of it. The disorientation is in the streets, eyes are glazed over, people’s moods are erratic, friends are a constant antagonist and arguments turn violent. People no longer live freely, they are prisoners within their own body. The constant dread, panic, exhaustion and fear has crippled us.

Have you ever felt breathless? Imagine feeling that way all the time, short sharp breaths are all you can manage, your stomach aches and you are hyper aware of every niggling cut, bruise, pain. We feel this way, because we know that we will probably die, and we are terrified.

Rollo May wrote that ‘depression is the inability to construct a future’. I ask you, what future can I construct when I have already seen men die right on my doorstep. This is not normal.
I have read a lot lately. I particularly like this quote:

Fear is unnatural… Pain, death, reality, these are all unnatural. We can’t bear these things as they are. We know too much. So we resort to repression, compromise and disguise. This is how we survive the universe. This is the natural language of the species.
– Murray in Don Delillo’s “White Noise”

We are living unnaturally in my town. But to get by I continue to repress. I do this by reading, rebuking vicious arguments on the Internet, and by writing this. If I continue to do this then I can drown out the buzz, and escape the mist for just a little while longer. I guess I am just engaging in the ‘natural language of the species’. I have tried to remain rational, understanding, and empathetic but I want to address everything I can before I lose my breath and can’t hear anything but the buzz.

‘They deserve what they get.’

Deserve implies an action or a reaction, I was simply born, have tried to live, and will soon die.

‘Why do we care about foreign casualties when we have our own problems at home.’

The natural inclination of humans is to preserve the species, but somehow creeds, colours, and countries have defined the species. But all loss is unnecessary loss. And I am sorry for your loss.

‘They are just animals anyway’

Animals don’t understand anything. They are simply biology reacting instinctually. The blessing of conscious is unique in humans and seemingly wasted on cyclical self-reflection that manifests itself in countless hours of facebook drivel.

I just want escape my fear. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I don’t want to disguise, compromise or repress. I want to feel normal, whatever that may be. I am hoping that this can help, but I know it won’t.

I can hear the buzzing again.